ORANGE COUNTY Fla. – Orange County Public Schools introduced new protocols for school board meetings.
People will now be greeted by metal detectors and lines separating those who plan to speak during public comment, versus those just attending the meeting.
OCPS’ new protocols include the building not opening until 30 minutes before the start of the meeting, face masks required, no congregating in the lobby or in the back of the board chambers and having OPD on hand to assist with removal.
School Board member Angie Gallo said the new rules are to help keep things civil and safe.
She said things got out of hand at the last meeting and added that some said they didn’t feel safe.
“We watched several videos, several videos were sent to me, I know that our police department watched several videos and determined that we need to kind of put some protocols in place,” said Gallo.
People started lining up hours in advance at the school board meeting on Tuesday
In addition to board meetings, OCPS is also making changes to its social media.
They said in a Facebook post that they will be disabling the comments.
A former OCPS parent, Jennifer Dotson, was in line to speak during public comment and said, “I’m disappointed that they had to do that because that is an avenue for people to be able to talk to, and to let their views be known, but as a victim myself of bullying, and the animosity on their Facebook page, I was glad to see that happen.”
The district’s post reads in part, “while social media has never been free of contentious dialog, the level to which it has devolved during the pandemic, in particular the comments here on Facebook, has become problematic for sharing information.”